Monday, May 15, 2006

A Belated Mother’s Day post. . .

Yes I knew Sunday was Mother’s Day, and yes I called my Mom and we had a grand chat until one of the other siblings was ringing in via ‘Call Waiting’… so, as is usual, our call ended with “Oh, Billy I have another call”… some quick “I love you’s” and a promise to call again soon.

For what it’s worth, I try to call once a week, but I usually actually call about 3 times a month.

Mom’s are pretty special and mine is no exception. She’s as full of commentary and her wry sense of ‘right’ in the world as ever, but, in the past year or so it seems she’s found herself finding out that some of the things she always took for granted, may not always be 100% true.

That gives me hope, as odd as it sounds, that we continue to learn, if we stay open to it, as long as we live.

There are seven of us kids in all, and I’m sure we call, or send cards with varying frequency… I’d guess the younger ones, in the midst of raising their own families are often hard pressed to find time, at a reasonable hour, to make the call. I know we all rally to her aid though, when ever there’s reason to, (like during her heart surgery last December) although, with only a couple of exceptions, in the 50+ years I’ve known the woman she’s been amazingly self reliant.

I wonder though, about the younger folks these days, if they hold their folks in the same regard my siblings and I held (or hold) ours?

I don’t think so. While the way we are was the ‘rule’ (I think) for folks of my generation, it seems to me, the current generation did not pick up that trait. Maybe we didn’t teach it to them? Maybe it’s a cultural thing? That there’s been a shift there somehow?

All of the young folks I know, with rare exception, once they’re out from the nest, rarely look back. They call when it’s convenient, find excuses to not attend family functions, and, when they do attend, are often the first to leave. My personal favorite excuse… “I had an emergency and didn’t have my cell phone, or I would have called” These same kids, are never, and I mean never, without their phone.

I see the hurt that causes to the parents, even when their lips are saying “He/She is just so busy” their eyes tell the true story. The true story is, parents, miss their children.

Maybe I was blessed in growing up in a small town, with a fairly close knit extended family, and that my parents had a lot of contact with their folks, so I just assumed it was the normal thing. Maybe it was just the normal thing in the small town I grew up in… maybe; our family was an exception, rather than the rule? I guess I’ll never really know that answer.

What I do see today though is a distancing of children from their parents that I didn’t see with my hometown friends, or my siblings.

If what I think I’m seeing is true… well, I feel sorry for these kids. Sorry they’re missing out on the great learning experience I had. I’ve said before that once I got into my mid-20’s my relationship with my Mom and Dad got really, really good. We could talk about anything; they gave advice, insight really, and stopped giving ‘orders’… They became more of a mentor in those years… I’ve wondered hundreds of times where my life would have gone without his, and my Mom’s advice.

My parents made a lot of mistakes, most of them with me, and my sister Kathy. We were the eldest boy and girl, they were learning on us. Maybe I understand that because I saw how much better they got with my younger siblings. I know I didn’t understand much prior to age 19, especially about being an adult, let alone a parent, and all the pressures and responsibilities that went with it.

I really didn’t like my parents as I was growing up, they seemed intent on “ruining my life” as I saw it, and, could not understand for the life of me, why they just couldn’t see things my way. I know I enlisted to get away from their oppression, in retrospect had I known what I know now… they had nothing on the drill instructors… no that was oppression!

Somehow, at some point, I got over feeling that way and started seeing all the good they had actually done me.

Today, when some 20 something who’s been ‘on their own’ for several years starts telling me how ‘rough they had it’ growing up, and how their parents ruined their life… I often stop them and ask... “so who’s been making the decisions in your life for say, the past five years?” They invariably answer that “they have”... to which I always respond with… “then if you’re unhappy, right now, you have no one to blame… but yourself.”

So thanks Mom, for passing on your amazing self reliance… for instilling in me a sense that I’m responsible for my life, and my actions… no one else, me. In short, for giving me the building blocks for life. Sure, you made mistakes, but somehow, along the way… “you did real good”.

I love you!

Technorati Tags: - - -
-IceRocket Tags: - - -


Dizzy Ms. Lizzy said...

Beautiful post, Bill!

My Mom passed away three years ago last month, and this is my 3rd Mother's Day without her. I miss her.

My son did have a "crisis" come up, and could not come by with his wife and the grandboys, but he at least made a point of calling me yesterday evening when they made it back home and wish me Happy Mother's Day. I don't think he appreciated me when he was growing up (heck, NONE of us appreciated our parents back then!), but now that he's older, he realizes a lot more of how life is and why we said and did, the things we did.

Your mother is SO lucky to have a son like you! :-)

P.S. Your envelope is FINALLY in the mail! :-)

Bill said...

Liz - Thanks, for the comment and the envelope!!

Trust me, I put my share of gray hairs on her head... and you're absolutely right... we don't appreciate them when we're young for sure... My Dad's been gone over 20, and I still miss him, a lot.

I guess what I was thinking is, when they're gone, they're gone... it seems like such a little thing, that phone call... but I know in my Mom's case, and obviously yours, it really means a lot!

Thanks for dropping in.

Lorna said...

Bill, it's never too late to be redeemed.:)

Ilene said...

Keep calling your Mom, Bill. You will never regret it. One can never say, "I love you" too much and one never tires of hearing it. I don't care how many kids you have, each one has there own special place in a mother's heart. I know - I'm a Mother!

RealLady said...

thanks for loving your Mom as much as you do! She is a great lady!

Bill said...

Lorna - I hope what you said is true. I think sometimes though, the hurt can be pretty deep, and take a lot to heal. I'd like to think that anyone, who truly wants to be, can be, redeemed. The question is... how does the hurt person *know* when the other person is being genuine?

Ilene - I will, I miss her if we don't talk. She doesn't ask much from any of us, but in talking to her I've dicovered that short of 'being there' having us call her regulary means more to her than any gift we could send.

RealLady - Thanks darlin... I think she's pretty great, I'm glad you do too!! As with most things, I'm just doing things the best way I know how.

Spirit Of Owl said...

It's true that getting older throws a different light on childhood and relationships. You have a great mum there, and it's fantastic that through your lives your relationship has continued to mature, develop and blossom. It's a wonderful thing, clearly, for you both.

Bill said...

Spirit - Thanks, truth be told there wasn't much of anywhere to go but up at one point. I think, no, I know, that it was during 'boot camp' that I realized that I'd had no idea of what 'tough' was until then... I made an effort after that, to improve my relationship with both of my parents... fortunately for me, they hadn't totally given up on me.

Good to see you my friend :)